Did I mention that I’m into radio drama and audio books? No? Now you know.
Among any audiodramaphile’s favorite stops on the internets is definitely BBC 7 with many re-runs or specially commissioned stories and dramatisations.
This week I was especially delighted to see that they are broadcasting “Shambleau” by C.L. Moore, a story I discovered many years ago in the excellent Penguin Book of Vampire Stories and it became one of my favorite stories therein. It’s an early science-fiction story, you know of the kind when Mars was a desert planet (well it actually is) but habitable and with the remnants of an ancient civilisation and Venus was covered with dense jungles crawling with alien monsters. C.L. Moore was one of the first (or the first?) women to make it into the almost exclusively male club of pulp SF writers. Among her creations is Northwest Smith, of whose adventures and exploits many of her stories tell. When I first read that story I thought that if George Lucas did not think of Northwest Smith when he came up with Han Solo then I don’t know what. Northwest is a smuggler and gunslinger his blaster raygun always at his side -ready to shoot first. His friend and partner in crime, Yarol, is a Venusian alien (having the great advantage of being able to speak without having to rely on guttural Wookie noises), and the Maiden, his ship, is old and quite unremarkable but the fastest one in the solar system. I bet it could beat the Falcon on the Kessel run anytime. 😉
However, Moore’s “Shambleau” has a twist, is much more, well, modern than you might expect of a story of that time and medium.
Anyway, if you’re into the sense of wonder kind of pulp-era science fiction you should absolutely give this one a try. Via the Listen Again feature you can listen to the show for 6 days after it was broadcast.
P.S. I just started to listen to the first part and although the narrator is a professional one I am not entirely sure whether choosing a female voice was such a good idea. I think the male perspective of Northwest Smith would have benefited from a male narrator emphasising the whole idea of the story.